Contrary to popular movies, college isn’t all play and no work. And sometimes, that work can be really stressful! Here are a few situations that may creep up in your college experience and how to deal with them like a Diva!
The Bad Group Member. At least once during your time at college, you are going to have to do a group project. And for at least one of those projects, you are going to have a bad group member. You know the type. They don’t show up for class, hand in their work late (if at all) and expect to ride on all your hard work. But what do you do about it?
1. Talk to them. I know how tempting it can be to confront them but you never know what is going on. Talk to them so that they understand the rest of the group’s expectations and explain (nicely) how they are not meeting them. Give them some examples of ways they can make it up to you, like have their portion of the assignment to you by the end of the weekend, and try not to hold it against them. If they continue to drop the ball, try tip #2.
2. Be Proactive. So you know this person can never get their stuff to you on time and you know that you often have to edit it to the edges of the earth. Instead of stressing yourself out, ask for their portion ahead of time or get together as a group and work on it then. That way, you can ensure you have enough time to put everything together but you can also help them with their work.
3. Talk to your professor. Sometimes, in dire situations, you may need to talk to your professor. Before you go running to tattle-tell, remember that this reflects on you as well. Make a private meeting with your prof so that you, and the rest of your group, can explain the situation you are facing. Explain to them what you have done to try and work with this person, and ensure that the professor knows to what extent this individual has been dragging your group down. Last, ask for their opinion. You may not get the answer you want, but at least your professor will be aware of the problems and will respect you for handling it professionally.
The Bad Grade. Inevitably, you are going to get a bad grade on something. And, understandably, you are going to be upset. But before you start crying and planning how “College Dropout” will look on your resume, remember that it isn’t the end of the world.
First, calm down. You never want to make decisions while you are emotional. Second, only after you’ve gathered yourself, talk to your professor and find out how you could have done better and if it is possible for you to make up your mark. If it isn’t, at least you know how to improve for next time and you can chalk it up to a learning lesson.
The Procrastination Project. Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to get that ten page paper done. I personally have fallen prey to the temptation of procrastination many times, and let me tell you, it can bring you down quick. If you find yourself fifteen episodes in to your favourite show with no sign of slowing down, follow these steps:
1. Finish your episode and turn it off. You’ve had your relaxation time, now it is time to get to work.
2. Start. Sometimes the hardest part about writing a report or presentation is simply starting. I find that even if I don’t have a concrete idea of where I’m going, once I actually start putting ideas on paper, I find myself putting together something coherent. Whether you are just jotting down key ideas or typing out full paragraphs, just start and see where you go.
3. Know your timeline. If it is due tomorrow, sorry, but tonight is going to be a long night for you. If it is due in a couple days, break it down into pieces. Sure it will be hard work and could mean a couple of late nights, but at least you have a plan of action.
4. Schedule time for editing. Ideally this will be a day or two before something is due, but even if you only have two hours until it is time to hand it in, use that two hours to edit. A good editing job can take your mark from a C to a B+, so just get it done.
The Comparison Act. Growing up, I always had friends that were very competitive with their marks. And unfortunately, it doesn’t get better in college. It can be hard to look at the other people in your class and not compare their successes to yours. But don’t forget that everyone struggles even if they don’t show it, and you have to focus on putting in your best effort. Focus on learning, improving and growing in your knowledge and remember that marks are only part of the equation. Be happy with your success, even if it looks different than someone else’s.
College comes with some hard decisions, but I promise that they are worth it. Don’t forget that you are at college to enjoy yourself and your education, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Do your best and forget the rest, as they say.
Until next time,